Posts Tagged → Government
The pervious blog shows just how little power The FA really have, I wrote that before they published a response to the Governments requests. The whole document was a complete disgrace and considering there were over 70 different points in the governments recommendation, 16 pages from the football authorities hardly covered any of it. Richard Scudamore comments from the other day show just how much power the Premier League really has….
We’ll make sure supporters have a proper voice but that doesn’t mean they can get everything they want.
… its everything summed up in one sentence. It makes it pretty clear Scudamore is stuck in his own little word…
It’s very hard to come up with legitimate ways to put fans on boards. We don’t have a Germanic model here.
… its very simple. Include a simple rule which means a new place is created and an elected supporter from each clubs supporters trust is put on the board of each club. It doesn’t require rocket science. Most people might think that will never happen in the Premier League. Scudamore needs to be reminded Swansea already have a supporter on the board. On top of that, 64 other clubs outside the Premier League have supporters on their boards. Considering there are just over 170 supporters trusts thats a huge chunk. Considering more clubs are being taken over by the fans season by season and the shareholdings are increasing season on season. Scudamore is living in the same world as FIFA. Completely out of touch and clueless. Apart from the other facts on directors, does he know 26 clubs are owned by the fans?
Most of the clubs which are owned by the fans are from League One and below but they have been increasing in number. Clubs like Exeter, Wrexham, Wimbledon and Chester are examples of larger clubs which have struggled but have been reborn. Tranmere Rovers and other supporters trusts already have viable plans to takeover their clubs but the current plans from the football authorities limit what can be done. Scudamore comments are that not of The FA, the Government or the fans but the Premier League and its clubs. Scudamore only has the interests of the owners of the clubs at heart and nothing else. Can you imagine the Glazers, Henry, Roman or many of the other owners supporting change from the fans point of view?
The question now is, what is the Governments response to this document? Do they know details we yet don’t? Will they be public and tell us their view? Are they going to ask for more or will they be quiet and slyly accept this? If this is slowly allowed to disappear to allow the Premier League to do as they wish, something has gone seriously wrong. Serious questions should be put forward now to the Department for Culture Media and Sport to find out what the next stage is!
If you’ve heard about the report into football governance or kept up to date from the mainly the Guardian or Telegraph. Both have been reporting the stories on the issue so you should have some idea of where the debate and changes are up to. I doubt think the Sun have even mentioned it, too busy reporting Rihannas new hair do, thats the stuff that matters.
At the end of the Culture and Media and Select committee on football governance a report was passed on to the government to review. In the Governments final publication, this was made clear on more than one occasion.
75. The Government is fully committed to ensuring that the changes put forward by the football authorities make a lasting and substantive difference. If that does not happen the Government will introduce a legal requirement on the Football Association to implement the appropriate governance clauses by the swiftest possible means.
Unsurprising one of the first recommendations that was made, has been reportedly completely ignored. The 10 man board with 6 independent non-executive directors hasn’t happened and they couldn’t even agree a small change. Currently on the 14 man board sit 3 Premier League Directors and 2 Football league Directors, its not hard to see why they won’t give up those posts any time soon. If the football clubs have control of the FA, it means the football clubs can still do pretty much as they like. It seems again they’ve got their own way and its as if the introduction of the licensing system is going to say ‘we’ve set up a licensing system and set up the independent body for it but let us off on the other areas.’
The other thing is, this could be a challenge to the Government on areas they really don’t want to change and if the Government did get involved theres a possibly the England Team would banned by FIFA. If the England team was banned just before the Euros, there would be uproar but if thats a price that must be paid, so be it. Football refusing to sorting its self out and allowing a long list of famous clubs to go bust is unacceptable in my book. They been clearly warned and if they don’t want to change, make them by what ever means possible.
It also makes you think what other areas within the governments report have they refuse to move on and it also makes you think the ones they have changed will have been to the complete minimum. Many people think the governments report itself was weak, so to see some key areas within a weak report completely missed shows just how backwards our game is. If The FA have refused to complete just one single point and if they have made it so its the minimum of changes on the rest, the Government should take steps straight away. It shows the football authorities can’t run themselves to do the very basics as the government trusted them to do so and it also means the Government must step in. The government has also been pressured to support supporter ownership in football and they if can’t even change the FA board we have serious problems which have been proven to be bigger than they were before.
In less than nine days the football authorities (The FA, Premier League and Football League) will have to produce a plan of introducing measures spelled out in Octobers government response to the football government report. I’m sure we’ve all looked at it but some of us like me haven’t looked at it closely enough. Many of us believed it would do nothing and was a halved arsed effort. Firstly consider this… Some of the items in the governments response refer directly back to the the report. For example we all believed the Government had passed over leveraged buyouts but that is not the case. I even said in a past blog they’d completely bottled it. This past blog shows you need to go into more detail… Leveraged Buy Outs To Be Banned
Another area which I haven’t looked at in more detail until now is covered in the governments response under point 41.
41. One option that we have considered is to specify within the new club licensing system a trigger point that would require clubs to make a seat available to one or more supporters’ representatives on the Board. Such a trigger point could be the next time the club changes hands; the point at which the officially recognised supporters organisations reach a certain size; or by a majority vote of eligible supporters. There will be other options as well.
Point 41 means within the club licensing system there will be a trigger point system for the officially recognised supporters trusts to place members on the board of football clubs. The recommendation says these will include a change of ownership, the size of a supporters trust, by a vote and that there will be others options. If this had been in place in the past, clubs over the last few years like Leeds, Plymouth and Portsmouth who have had problems could have placed a member on the board for greater power and transparency.
This trigger point system to get a member on the board for many clubs may only come about at the point when a club changes hands or gets in trouble. I think many people have passed over the other trigger points. The change of ownership has been happening since football clubs were created and for all clubs this will come around but for a club like Manchester United or Chelsea where the owners say they have a ‘long term interest’ or another club which could be anywhere in the leagues which hasn’t changed hands for 20-30 years like Wigan, that system doesn’t and won’t work. A key recommendation here is once an officially recognised supporters organisation reaches a certain size instead of changing hands. Most football clubs even in the Premier League may only have at best a few 1000 members or less, some only have 100s. Norwich City for example a Premier League club have over 600 members but own 1200 shares worth a value of £121,000 in their club. Swansea City fans already have a member on the board due to the fact they own 20% of the club. The Manchester United Supporters Trust back in 2005 had a touch over 30,000 members. They now have over 175,000 and if this trigger point for example requires 1000 or even 10,000 members, surely from day one of the new licensing rules, our supporters trust would meet the requirement triggering that point. A trigger point like this could do two things. One, trigger on the day its introduced for those who meet the criteria and two other supporters trusts would surely have a big inventive to promote themselves and grow to meet that target. If the target was 1,000 which to me seems realistic. Reading, Spurs, Arsenal and others would meet it but many wouldn’t. I believe a target of anything over 10,000 would make it impossible for most clubs to achieve and impossible for smaller clubs.
A licensing system so clubs have to talk to fan groups like IMUSA/MUST, possible members on the board, supporters trusts given first options on future takeovers via administration, leveraged buyouts banned, protection of shares in football clubs, full transparency on the ownership of football clubs and its debts is all very much on the cards. We could have done with all that in 2005 and today the next club in trouble will be Arsenal. Hopefully this will protect them from big debts and American owners. Currently this all feels like a pipe dream but if we then consider that by next Wednesday the footballing authorities have to agree a plan as set out in the response and that the government want most of the recommendations in the response in place by the start of the 2012-2013 season it becomes much more real. Of course for many of us it won’t be real until it happens.
Last month the Scottish Premier League relaxed the rules on standing and has allowed for safe standing areas to be reintroduced. Currently Rangers, Celtic, Kilmarnock and Motherwell are all currently exploring the option of installing safe standing areas in their stadiums. The key difference between English clubs and Scottish clubs is the Scottish clubs are not bound by the Taylor Report and English laws so they have one less problem to over. The Premier League has said in the past it doesn’t want to introduce safe standing back into the Premier League but now certain English clubs are exploring the idea. Aston Villa is one club to have plans in place and is seeking support at the next Premier League meeting from other clubs. Arsenal and City have also been rumoured to be interested in safe standing areas. The type of standing that would in place would be very different from the standing areas you see at many lower league clubs or the type we saw in the past decades before standing was banned. If reintroduced Scottish and English clubs would follow the Germany system of fold up seats and bars where a stand can be converted to either safe standing or seated if required under UEFA regulations.
Villa is one of many clubs where standing takes place for long periods of time even though it is banned. The same can be said for most other clubs. The Kop at Anfield, K Stand and the Stretford End at Old Trafford are all areas where no one will sit down for 90 minutes. Manchester United have been warned in the past by the local council for persistent standing but it still carries on. Much of it is over looked. Even at away games clubs like Liverpool have admitted persistent standing isn’t a problem, so a question needs to be asked. Is the current law 15 years out of date? It would seem so as much has happened. Hooligans aren’t anywhere near a big a issue as they were 20 or 30 years ago. Football is safer, new technology and techniques have been developed. Its also been proven standing in seated at Premier League stadiums isn’t dangerous. It happens at every away game up and down the country every Saturday and Sunday. When was the last time there was an issue because fans were standing? The Germans have also developed a very successful and safe standing system. I believe its time for the Government, FA and Premier League to allow Villa to install a safe standing system as in Germany which can be monitored. It will prove ‘standing’ wasn’t the issue. It was everything around it and everyone knows it. Everything has to be managed if it isn’t, problems will occur.
Another problem with the current Premier League system is the ticket price and everything that goes with football. Its about money and many clubs have lost a certain type of supporter over the past 10 years to do the huge increases in price of a football ticket. If you’re a fan of Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal etc ticket prices are normally £35 to 50 or maybe more. At Bolton, Blackburn and City it’s more like £25-35. Standing tickets would not only bring the price down, they’d increase the attendances, capacity and the type of people attending football matches. Those priced out could now afford to attend games. For clubs like Bolton and Blackburn, safe standing areas could improve the atmosphere and bring back a community feel to being a fan. It should in theory improve the atmosphere at any ground it was introduced. I’ve not really heard any argument against it and there is a lot of support, its time the law was changed but changed with regulations on how standing is managed. Managing the system and the type of system is the key to success.
The Last Blog Post Still Applies apart from it is 6 months! Anyone told to read the first blog post, go down apost, then read this. I mentioned in the last post there was an announcement. Here it is, its quiet hard to believe.
But Read This….
“5.4.iii. Work with football bodies to consider how best to improve football governance, including options to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by supporters – December 2010 To May 2011.
5.4.iv. Publish proposals for improving governance in sport – May 2011″
This has come directly from the Government. The FA Has Six Months but my other big question from the last blog post still applies.
You can read this information here - http://transparency.number10.gov.uk/transparency/srp/view-srp/34/22